Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Warlord Wednesday: Deathwatch

Let's re-enter the lost world with another installment of my issue by issue examination of DC Comic's Warlord, the earlier installments of which can be found here...

Warlord #102 (February 1986)
Written by Michael Fleisher; Penciled by Paris Cullins and Martin King, Inked Pablo Marcos

Synopsis: Morgan veers slightly from his destination of the Greenfire Sea (where he hopes to find a wizard who can cure Jennifer from her aging illness) so he can go by his crashed jet and get more ammo from his stash.  He finds it (again) being used as a place a sacrifice by some cultists.  Morgan routs them and frees there intended victim, who turns out to be a bit on the haughty side:

She’s Zupara, Queen of the Q’enara Amazons, and rather than walk all the way back to her valley, she decides she’ll ride with Morgan until she can steal a horse.  Along the way, she tells the story of her tribe, who came to Skartaris from the surface eons ago to escape “the patriarchal domination of males.”

Zupara became queen on the death of her mother, but the attack of a river monster on the funeral barge caused her to be swept over a waterfall.  She wound up in the cultists’ hands.

It just isn't her day: No sooner has she finished her story, than they’re ambushed and netted by slavers!

Elsewhere, Machiste and Mariah encounter a beggar on the road from Shamballah to Kiro who knows who Machiste is and prophecizes that his reign will be marked by prosperity and he and Mariah will have many descendants.  As soon as the couple passes, the mendicant ties a message to the leg of a pigeon and sends it off.  Sometime later, it’s received in an opulent mansion in Kiro, where to conspirators learn of Machiste’s impending return and hint menacingly that he will never arrive.

Meanwhile, Morgan and Zupara are tied up in the slaver’s camp.  A dice game keeps their captors distracted long enough that they can cut their bonds and attack.  Beating up the slavers, they steal too horses and make for a nearby town for a good meal.

In a tavern, Zupara is disgusted by the behavior of men in regard to a dancing girl.  Worse yet, when a patron gets too friendly with Zupara herself:

Morgan finds himself in a tavern brawl. He fights his way to the door, pulling the reluctant Zupara along. She'd would rather stay and continue the fight.

Finally, they reach the borders of Zupara’s homeland, and they prepare to part ways.  Before they can, a contingent of amazons show up and seize Morgan!  It seems a big bald amazon has usurped Zupara’s throne in her absence and doesn’t want to relinquish rulership.  She challenges Zupara to trial by combat—with Morgan’s life in the balance, too!

After a pitch battle, Zupara wins and sees her foe topple into the flames. Zupara regains her throne and frees Morgan. She thanks him for his help—but tells him to be gone and never set foot in the land of the amazons again!

Morgan rides on.

Things to Notice:   
  • Morgan's crashed SR-71 was used by lizardmen as a place of sacrifice back in issue #3.
  • The amazon's have a sort of Kirby-esque aesthetic to their material culture.
Where it Comes From:
Amazons are sort of a comic book and pulp fiction stable who have there origins, of course, in Greek mythology. It seems odd it took them a 102 issues to show up in Warlord.

This issue may be inspired by to Warlord issues from the Grell run.  The "plane as altar" from the aforementioned issue #3. Issue #48 bears some similarities with its sacrifice that's more than she seems and Morgan himself having to be rescued (by a woman in both cases).

No comments: